“With whom do you wish you could have played a scene?” — question for cast members of The Wire

Back in 2014, during The Wire marathon on HBO, I started tweeting to cast members a simple question:

“With whom do you wish you could have played a scene?”

After all, there are so many fabulous actors on The Wire, and many never got to do a scene together, despite so many cast members — regardless of season — becoming friends or at least friendly off camera.

I grouped all of the responses in a Storify file, but unfortunately the site closed down and the post is gone. So I’ve re-configured them here, in order in which I received them, and I’ll keep this post updated if and when I get more.



Continue reading ““With whom do you wish you could have played a scene?” — question for cast members of The Wire”


6 Rings: the true story of the Chicago Bulls dynasty


1996 Bulls GOAT

Twenty years ago, the dynasty ended.

The Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson won six championships in eight seasons and reshaped the NBA forever.

My latest story celebrates their final game together, Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, and completes (for now, I guess) an ongoing series of pieces that I have written over the past 13 years on what was easily my favorite era as a sports fan.

Here, all together, are those pieces about “YOUR World Champion Chicago Bulls!”

I will never get tired of hearing that. Continue reading “6 Rings: the true story of the Chicago Bulls dynasty”

A Look Back At Michael Jordan’s Flu Game 20 Years Later

An unknown stat makes that legendary game even more impressive and helps explain why fans get angry when stars rest.

(Originally published June 8, 2017, at the now defunct 16WinsARing.com)

If you want to fully understand Michael Jordan’s “Flu Game,” you first have to understand one of Michael Jordan’s greatest statistics: 357.

It’s a stat that is rarely discussed. The number most associated with MJ, besides 23, is 6. As in “6 rings.” Once upon a time, MJ’s career was defined by a melange of numbers. People thought about 63 and 69. They pictured him in 9 and 45. They were astounded by 7, and later 10, for his scoring titles. They grimaced at .202 and glowed with pride over 72–10.

Now, it’s 6. The only number of consequence. The one MJ chased more than any other. The one to which he drunkenly crooned after reaching it in 1998. He started counting after the first championship, flashing victorious fingers. Two in 1992. Three in ’93. Four in ’96. Five in ’97. Six in ‘98.

No number in NBA history serves as more of a mic drop in current hoops debates than MJ’s 6. The figure may be augmented in different ways, like “6–0” (his Finals record) or “6 for 6” (his Finals MVPs). But, unquestionably, 6 is the number. He likes it like that.

I like it too. I also like 357. Continue reading “A Look Back At Michael Jordan’s Flu Game 20 Years Later”

Debunking the bogus “Colin Kaepernick is bad — he went 1-10” argument

The 2017 NFL season begins tonight, and every argument about why Colin Kaepernick remains out of the NFL has been debunked — except one.

“He is bad — he went 1-10!”


Yes, Kaepernick was 1-10 last season for the 2-14 49ers, but history tells us that a crappy record in merely one season is not enough to land a quarterback on the NFL’s unemployment list.

After all, Kaepernick’s 2016 was the 38th time in NFL/AFL history in which a quarterback in at least his 6th season won 3 or fewer games while losing 9 or more. Thirty-one quarterbacks other than Kaepernick produced such a season. Only two never played again. Continue reading “Debunking the bogus “Colin Kaepernick is bad — he went 1-10” argument”

We are the champions. The Cubs are the champions.


To know why a Cubs win can elicit fireworks on a Wednesday night and grandparents giggling and strangers hugging on the moonlit streets of Chicago, Illinois, you have to first know what broke those people. Mine was Game 7, 2003. I couldn’t drink after that game. I was in college and I was too sad to drink.

I called my parents on my walk home that night and kept muttering variations of “I thought they’d do it. I really thought they’d do it.” My mother comforted me. Then my father took the phone, heard me out, and said:

“Just wait till it gets bad.” Continue reading “We are the champions. The Cubs are the champions.”

The Wire Season 4: Marlo Stanfield, Baltimore’s serial killer


The genius of the character of Marlo Stanfield is that a textless, bold-colored headband came to feel too flashy.

He opened without one, an intro so perfect yet under the radar because the scene is about Bubbles, not this unnamed, previously unknown character whose first appearance departing a building is teamed with the sound of a bird chirping, as if Marlo is a hawk fledging from his nest and preparing to hunt the people of Baltimore like squirrels.

Continue reading “The Wire Season 4: Marlo Stanfield, Baltimore’s serial killer”

Radio, TV, and podcast appearances, 2015-present



Me and Laurence Holmes for my Score debut, July 15, 2016. Thanks Laurence!

Radio, TV, and podcast appearances

(titles are links)

2015 – present

13 FEB 2019 — The Chicago Bulls first three-peat, part 1 of 2, with See Red Fred and Big Dave & C-Dub of Bawl Sports, on Chicago Bullseye

12 FEB 2019 — Talking Chicago sports history, with Laurence Holmes on the House of L Podcast

2 FEB 2019 — Talking Chicago sports history and the work of a historian, with Andrew Donlan of Medill Reports (article + podcast)

18 NOV 2018 — My picks for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019, with Jarrett Payton and Andy Masur on CLTV SportsFeed

11 OCT 2018 — How the Miami Dolphins became our existential threat, with Andrew Link on The Bears Link Podcast on Windy City Gridiron

6 OCT 2018 — Uncovering the MJ Retirement Conspiracy, with Scott Lewis and Pierce Roberson on Ball Don’t Lie on The Barber’s Chair

22 JUL 2018 — The undoing of the Bulls dynasty and unretiring Bears numbers, with Jarrett Payton on CLTV SportsFeed

15 JUN 2018 — 1990s Bulls + the Bears-Eagles playoff game + the Lovie-era Bears, with Joe Janssen and Matt Scioli on the Town Mile Podcast

14 JUN 2018 — Reflections on The Last Day of the Chicago Bulls Dynasty, with Justin Kaufmann on The Download on WGN

30 MAY 2018 — “The Commute”: 1990s Bulls + LeBron + the 2018 NBA Finals, with Scott Lewis and Pierce Roberson on Ball Don’t Lie on The Barber’s Chair

5 APR 2018 — My first time seeing Predator! Talking movies with Zach Peterson and Justin Brink on Getting Around To It

Continue reading “Radio, TV, and podcast appearances, 2015-present”

This one’s for Cleveland.


I’ve never felt thrilled for another city’s fans. Not like this.

That is nearly the exact same intro I used for my column May 14, 2010, the day after the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated by the Boston Celtics — AKA the final game LeBron played as a member of the Cavs until his return last year.

You’ll notice, though, that it’s not EXACTLY the same intro. We’ve got one key word that’s different. Forget “ill.” Add “thrilled.” Continue reading “This one’s for Cleveland.”

How The GOAT Was Built: 6 Life Lessons From the 1996 Chicago Bulls

GOAT cover (book by Jack Silverstein, design by Zachary Gibson, Bag Fry)

Way back in October, back when the Bulls’ record of 72 wins was safe, I began an essay about the 12 moves the Bulls made between June 1993 and October 1995 that turned an aged, bickering, 57-win champion into a flourishing, rejuvenated, 72-win juggernaut.

Seven months later, I have a 13,000-word e-book and have spent more time reading about and watching clips of the 1995-96 Bulls than any time other than 1995-96. I’ll save you the suspense: It’s been a sweet 7 months!

Thus I am very proud to release “How The GOAT Was Built: 6 Life Lessons From the 1996 Chicago Bulls.”

READ AND DOWNLOAD THE PDF VERSION: How the GOAT was built — by Jack M Silverstein

For an iBooks copy for your phone, email readjack.com@gmail.com.

More e-book options to come.

To read the six lessons without the prologue or epilogue, (but with lots and lots of video!), click the links below: Continue reading “How The GOAT Was Built: 6 Life Lessons From the 1996 Chicago Bulls”